upper waypoint

Penny Marshall, Filmmaker And 'Laverne & Shirley' Star, Dies At 75

Save ArticleSave Article
Failed to save article

Please try again

Penny Marshall played Laverne in Laverne & Shirley and went on to have a career as a Hollywood director. She died Monday at the age of 75. (ABC Photo Archives/Getty Images)

Updated at 2:58 p.m. ET

Penny Marshall, who became a household name as Laverne in the TV sitcom Laverne & Shirley and went on to direct several popular movies, has died at the age of 75.

Marshall died Monday night at her Los Angeles home from complications of diabetes, family publicist Michelle Bega tells NPR.

In the early ’70s, Marshall got her start on shows like The Odd Couple and The Bob Newhart Show. She built her fame co-starring with Cindy Williams in Laverne & Shirley, the popular sitcom created by her older brother, Garry Marshall (as was The Odd Couple).

The Happy Days spinoff series was also where she began her directing career, directing several episodes of the show.


In the late ’80s, Marshall made the leap from small-screen actress to big-screen director.

She directed Big, starring Tom Hanks as a boy in a man’s body, and A League of Their Own, based on the true story of a professional women’s baseball league in the 1940s.

Then, as now, film directing was a male-dominated field. In 1992, NPR reported that women made up just 10 percent of the membership of the Directors Guild, even as successful movies like Marshall’s drew attention—Big was the first film from a female director to top $100 million at the box office.

Director Ava DuVernay remembered Marshall on Twitter on Tuesday, thanking her “for the trails you blazed. The laughs you gave. The hearts you warmed.”

The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences, the body that awards the Oscars, also remembered Marshall on Twitter, calling her “one of the greats.”

In life, Marshall was never nominated for an Oscar—not even when her film Awakenings was in the running for Best Picture.

Marshall’s work on Laverne & Shirley was also never recognized with an Emmy nomination, as The Hollywood Reporter notes with astonishment.

Copyright 2018 NPR. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org.

lower waypoint
next waypoint
You Can Get Free Ice Cream on Tuesday — No CatchThis Sleek Taiwanese Street Food Lounge Serves Beef Noodle Soup Until 2:30 a.m.The Stud, SF's Oldest Queer Bar, Gears Up for a Grand ReopeningMinnie Bell’s New Soul Food Restaurant in the Fillmore Is a HomecomingCalvin Keys, Widely Loved Jazz Guitarist With Endless Soul, Dies at 82The World Naked Bike Ride Is Happening on 4/20 in San Francisco5 New Mysteries and Thrillers for Your Nightstand This SpringA Lowrider Cruise in Honor of Selena, the Queen of Tejano, in San FranciscoBest Bets for the 2024 Healdsburg Jazz FestivalThree Eye-Opening Documentaries You Can Stream Right Now